Friday, April 23, 2010

High desert solitude

We are parked at a graveled pull-off on BLM land, on a side road off Nevada 447, perhaps ten miles south of Gerlach (map). It was completely dark save for the moon, and other than the coyotes we heard nothing all night. This morning we've seen nothing but a handful of dirt haulers coming and going from the side road (and where, we wonder, does one need to haul dirt out here?).

Yesterday we got a fairly late start out of Sparks. After I posted here, I spent another hour or two working on maps, routes, and services, and then we needed fuel. We had around a third of a tank, but Nevada has the cheapest fuel we'll see all the way to Washington. Checking my fuel pricing web sites, I discovered some of the cheapest diesel in the area, at $3.059, was just down the block at a 76 station, so we looped around Victorian square and pulled in. I think my request for $600 worth befuddled the clerk; I ended up having to authorize the pump twice to get that much. It was an automobile dispenser, so we spent well over half an hour putting in just under 200 gallons.

We also knew it would be a while before we saw either a restaurant or a decent grocery store, so we stopped at the Raley's at the north end of town on our way out. Little did I know that development has overrun the area to the north, all the way to Spanish Springs, which sports a Save Mart. En route, we passed a Costco and an enormous Wal-Mart SuperCenter. The last time I headed up to Pyramid Lake, there was nothing north of Sparks except the BLM's wild horse adoption center until you got to the little store at the edge of the reservation.

We had a lovely drive along Pyramid Lake and through the little town of Nixon, entirely within the native American reservation. The hills surrounding these valleys are gorgeous right now with a dusting of snow on all the peaks. After leaving the res, we passed Lake Winnemucca, often completely dry but yesterday covered edge to edge in shallow water.

We have at least two weeks to get to Puget Sound, so we are taking things very slowly. Somewhere along our route I hope to find a nice spot to settle in for a few days, where I can tackle some projects. The Webasto has been acting up again, requiring us to restart it every ten minutes or so, and I'd like to get it apart and clean the flame sensor while we are still using it every night. I still have half a dozen or so items to photograph and get listed on eBay, and both our computers need attention. Plus, after nearly a month of eating out every night with friends, it will be nice to be eating in and keeping more to our preferred diet.


  1. 10 miles south of Gerlach! Say hello to the Black Rock Desert for us.. missing home (well.. Burning Man home)!

    Miss you guys..

  2. Are you sure they're dirt haulers? There's a huge gypsum operation there at Empire (which is about 5mi S of Gerlach on 447).

    I'm looking forward to taking our trailer out there for 4th of Juplaya, and again for Burning Man (for the Nth year; 6th, 7th?).


  3. My thoughts about the dirt haulers: Any chance they were hauling contaminated soil to a "dump"?

  4. @Cherie: We thought of you as we passed the turn for the playa in Gerlach today. Really sorry we are missing NuRVers -- please give hugs to everyone for us. Most likely we will miss the Gateway Burn, too, but that's not in stone yet. This part of NV is hauntingly beautiful, BTW.

    @Brent and Bob: No, it was plain dirt, for sure. We saw one of the trucks later in Gerlach -- looks like they are building a pipeline road, and that's where the fresh fill is going.

  5. Sean, Love to follow your travels and son, Nathan and I got a laugh at the mental picture of the gas attendants face! When N asked how long that would last you, we jumped over to your videos which I absolutely adore, and of course found the answer right away, thanks!!!


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